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Numbers Need More than Novocaine

February 2, 2010

In the world of dentistry for young children, there are some staggering numbers that need more than a shot of Novocaine to numb the pain.

Serious pain killers are needed to tolerate numbers like this:

  • $24 million - the amount the federal government recently accepted to settle against FORBA Holdings, LLC., a company that provides management services to Small Smiles dental clinics nationwide. Under the agreement, FORBA agreed to pay the participating states and the United States $24 million, plus interest, to resolve allegations that it caused bills to be submitted to state Medicaid programs for medically unnecessary dental services performed on children insured by Medicaid.
  • 2 million kids - the number of children that Small Smiles dental clinics want to serve by 2012, according to Fast Company Magazine.  That number deserves recognition, but not in the category of successful business.  How can this be considered success when it costs the taxpayers millions and causes children to suffer unspeakable treatment?
  • $142 million  -- FORBA's projected revenue for 2006.  They processed approximately 775,000 patient visits to their 50 clinics in 17 states that year, according to their press release.  At the expense of children and taxpayers, their processing plants serve up profits and pain.
  • 5 years old - over 40% of children will be affected by tooth decay by this age, which means these are very, very young children who are subjected to FORBA's techniques. 
    Five year old children being restrained with minimal pain medication; subjected to unnecessary root canals; treated by uncertified and untrained technicians; and denied contact with their parents. What your mind cannot comprehend, your eye will see on a video which captured those techniques.
  • 42% -- percentage of children, ages 2 to 11 with dental caries in their primary teeth.  Black and Hispanic children and those living in families with lower incomes have more decay, according to National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.  FORBA/Small Smiles specializes in low income families, who have fewer options and need payment assistance from Medicaid. FORBA/Small Smiles has carved out a profitable niche by treating this population of children.

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